Despite its volatility, many investment funds continue to buy bitcoin, while banking giants have compared it to haven investment gold.

A representation of virtual currency bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken November 19, 2020.
A representation of virtual currency bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken November 19, 2020. (Reuters)

Bitcoin has traded above $35,000 for the first time, rising to a high of $35,879 and extending a rally that has seen the digital currency rise more than 800 percent since mid-March.

Bitcoin jumped nearly 12 percent on Tuesday to top the previous record high of $34,544.94 after a dizzying climb.

Bitcoin's latest surge comes as results from the Senate runoff election in Georgia are coming in. Some a speculating a Democrat-controlled Congress could exacerbate current inflation concerns shared by many bitcoin investors.

READ MORE: JPMorgan: Bitcoin emergence as digital gold could lift price to $146,000

Consecutive new records

Bitcoin's record-breaking and volatile 2020, aided by increased popularity among individual investors, could be set for calmer times according to specialists, despite the new year starting with more sizeable swings.

Having quadrupled in price last year also on strong institutional interest, the leading virtual currency soared by 20 percent in just 72 hours to reach an all-time high $34,792 on Sunday.

On Tuesday around 1630 GMT it stood at $32,570.

Since mid-December, "you finally saw (individual)... investors come in", noted Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of specialist cryptocurrency platform Nexo.

Price swings

Bitcoin purchases have opened up to the wider public thanks to the ability to buy fractions of one whole unit, while Paypal account holders can now use the virtual currency for online transactions.

But even buying fractions of one bitcoin can leave small investors with big losses.

"If you want to get caught up in day-to-day movements, you need to be a pro with the stomach for stormy waters," Trenchev told AFP.

"There's no certainty in any asset class, bitcoin least of all," he cautioned.

The cryptocurrency's recent highs were achieved at weekends and during the festive period when many brokers were away from work.

In its 12-year history, bitcoin has suffered several wild price swings with rebounds not always immediate.

Debate rages over the status of the digital asset, launched in late 2008, as to whether it should be considered a form of money, an asset or a commodity.

READ MORE: Bitcoin continues winning streak, sets another record

Source: TRTWorld and agencies